While it is critical to be conscious of sex in order to avoid STDs, it is also critical to be informed about it. According to new research, sexual health programs that include sexual desire and sexual pleasure can enhance knowledge, attitudes, and condom use when compared to those that do not.
The study was published in the PLOS ONE open access publication.
The meta-analysis of research literature from 2005 to 2020 found that incorporating pleasure into such programs can have positive effects on attitudes and safer sex behavior, and suggested that sexual education and health intervention approaches that do not acknowledge that sexual experiences can be pleasurable be reconsidered.
Every year, billions of dollars are spent on sexual and reproductive health and rights services and projects all around the world. Despite the fact that the UN Sustainable Development Goals, which focus on sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights, have less than 10 years to complete, there is still a massive worldwide burden of sexually transmitted illnesses and HIV.
Researchers from WHO’s Department of Sexual and Reproductive Health and Research and colleagues assessed 33 unique STI/HIV risk reduction treatments that include pleasure, and meta-analysed eight of them. They discovered evidence that adding pleasure in information and knowledge-based attitudes, such as participants’ self-belief in behavior change and motivation to use condoms, as well as in behavior and condom use, can have considerable positive benefits, according to the study.
While the authors looked for interventions across a wide range of sexual health interventions (including contraception and family planning), the review ultimately focused on STI/HIV-related programs aimed at historically ‘vulnerable’ populations. Future research is needed to incorporate and evaluate pleasure-inclusive therapies in the reproductive health domain and for general populations, according to the authors.
Continued avoidance of pleasure in sexual health and education, the team stated, risks misdirecting or ineffective resource use. The researchers advocated for a complete overhaul of how programs are organized.
The authors continued, “Despite its evident link to sexual health and well-being, pleasure has been overlooked and vilified in health promotion and sex education. Our groundbreaking systematic review and meta-analysis demonstrates that including sexual pleasure considerations into sexual and reproductive health services enhances condom use and, as a result, sexual and reproductive health outcomes.”
Additionally, they stated, “Policymakers and program managers should recognize that pleasure is a major motivator of sexual behavior and that include it in sexual and reproductive health services can help to prevent negative consequences. Innovative solutions to expedite progress toward SRHR targets, notably for STI and HIV prevention, are urgently needed eight years before the Sustainable Development Goal deadline. One such innovation that should be seriously studied is programs that take a sex-positive and pleasure-inclusive approach.”
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